The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice


In 2016, the leaders of 193 governments committed to more equitable and predictable sharing of responsibility for refugees as part of the New York Declaration, to be realized in the Global Compact on Refugees. To encourage debate, this paper presents the first global model to measure the capacity of governments to physically protect and financially support refugees and host communities. The model is based on a new database of indicators covering 193 countries, which assigns a fair share to each country and measures current government contributions to the protection of refugees. The model also proposes a new government-led global platform in support of refugee protection and human development.

In January 2019, an overwhelming majority of U.N. Member States adopted a resolution affirming the Global Compact on Refugees. This pact of international solidarity and cooperation is more important today than ever—as powerful countries double-down on xenophobia, promote toxic politics, and drastically narrow their contributions to refugee protection. While the Refugee Compact has the potential to provide better protection and care for refugee and host communities, it is not legally binding. Its promises may only be realized through the adoption of a concrete model for equitable and predictable responsibility sharing based on each nation’s capacity to receive and/or care for refugees. The responsibility sharing model presented here is put forward to challenge policymakers and help shape discussions toward an agreed upon approach to determining each nation’s capacity based on a data-driven approach as contemplated in the Refugee Compact.

Last Page


First Page


Date Created

December 6, 2019

Journal Title

The Scholar: St. Mary's Law Review on Race and Social Justice

Volume Number


Issue Number



St. Mary's University School of Law


Riley F. Tunnell